• M+B Design

Renovation Challenge-Week 4

You know that moment when you challenge yourself to do something just a litttttttle out of your comfort zone, but you KNOW you can do it? And then you DO IT, and you just feel like you are on top of the world?! That was totally me this week. YOU GUYS. I literally tiled the entire back of the peninsula BY MYSELF! No help. Not even a little. I mean..I may or may not have like 6 loads of laundry to put away...but I tiled like a BOSS. And my oldest son even noticed, and complimented me by saying "You're really good at the mom". (Insert melted heart here!) My goal is for you to leave this blog post feeling just as empowered as I did this week. It's really, TRULY, not that hard. You can totally do it. Let me show you.

I started off with a trip to our local Home Depot with my trusty side kick ;).

Shopping List:

-1/4 inch Cement board (enough to cover the back of our peninsula (measure your own space to see how much you will need)

-drywall screws (for screwing in the cement board)

-Utility knife (or one you already have with a fresh blade)

-Pre-mixed Tile Adhesive ( I used: AcrylPro Professional brand)

-Leave in Spacers (I used 1/8 in)

-adhesive trowel

-tile cutter

As you might remember from last week, this was what my peninsula looked like before I started:

First off, the cement board needed to go on the back of the peninsula to 1) cover the hole where the old cabinet had been and 2) Give the tile the backing it needed to support the tile work. So after I measured the amount I would be need, I knew I would have to buy 2 sheets of cement board, and cut them down to size. Here is where that sharp utility knife came into play. All you have to do is score it several times on both sides with the sharp knife, and then snap it off. It's kind of the same idea when you're folding a piece of paper to rip it. You fold it a new times to help you make the perfect rip, right?

I made sure to butt the edge of where I wanted it to snap off right up against the ledge of my porch. That helped to give myself the advantage of the leverage when I was ready to pop it off. Then, I just hammered if off, and it broke off super easily. Just make sure to score, score, score before you start to hammer.

You sure can tell this is a fall challenge. Hello, leaves!

Next up, I brought the cement board back in the house, and slid it under the counters and into the grove that we left when we did the flooring. It fit like a glove. There may have been squeals of "I can't believe I did that all by myself!" going on at this moment. I had planned to maybe use some adhesive glue on the back of the cement board, but there was no getting it to wiggle out after it was in. HAHA. I definitely made sure to use plenty of drywalls screws, however.

If you're like me, I decided a few days later to start tiling right after dinner when I was waiting for my husband to get home. Does anybody else do that? I pick the most chaotic times, it seems. HA!

Alright..so first of all--I measured the floor to see how level it was. You need your first row to be level, so that as you move up, your tiles also stay level as a result. I couldn't believe that my floor was perfectly level! It made it really easy to get going.

Side note: This summer I went to the Haven Conference in Charleston. It's a conference designated for designers/bloggers to come together and learn about all sorts of things related to that field. (Even bigger side note: if you are on the fence..GO! It was amazing!) While there, I took a tiling class with Jeffrey Court Tile, and I fell in love with how easy it was to use pre-mixed tile adhesive. (I know, NERD ALERT!) But here me clearly you guys: Just buy the dang pre-mixed stuff. SO EASY. I even snapped a picture while I was there, because I knew I would use that exact product:

It turns out, they only had that in 3.5 gallon buckets, but I did get one very similar:

The next step is easy. You take the trowel, and you scoop the adhesive up onto it, and spread it across the cement board. It's like spreading peanut butter. And you can't even mess up putting too much on because the trowel comes with these super handy teeth on both sides that makes it impossible to mess up. You wipe it on, spread it down using the teeth, and you start pushing on the tiles.

**Remember to make sure your entire first row is LEVEL. It's really really important not to mess that up, or you will pay for it later when your rows get uneven.

Notice the way the trowel "teeth" makes it fool proof to spread the adhesive out evenly

They sell a plethora of different spacers for tiling. Some are larger to leave different size gaps between the tiles. And some clip on or slide in in different ways. I basically just messed around in the aisle of home depot looking at the different widths until I was content with the gap size I thought looked best (for me, 1/8 inch). I used the leave-in spacers because you can literally just grout RIGHT ON over them. No need to pull anything out. (Another fool proof win!) You simply place on a tile, add a spacer, and move right along your first row. Repeat that process until you either get to the side or the top where a "full tile" doesn't fit. For me that was both the far right edge, and the very top.

So how do you cut a tile?

Well, you have 3 options. You can use a tile cutter (sort of like a paper cutter), a wet saw (like a small table saw used specifically to cut tile), or a tile nipper (essentially fingernail clippers for tile) At the Jeffrey court class, I had the opportunity to use all three. I opted for a option #1: the tile cutter. Heres what it looks like:

Tile Cutter (Similar idea to a paper cutter)

You simply line up your tile, and slide the handle down to score your tile. Then you use the same handle and use the horizontal darker gray piece on the handle to press down. The scoring creates just the perfect hairline fracture that when you press-- it literally snaps into two pieces right on your line. EASY PEASY. I cut all my "cut tiles" into pre-cut stacks:

I used those stacks of cut pieces to finish off the peninsula and when I stepped back this is what I saw:

Keepin' it real with my back drop. I cannot WAIT to have a functioning kitchen!!!!!

This quote about sums about how I felt in that moment:

"Humble enough to know I'm far from perfect. Confident enough to know I can do anything I set my mind to."

I really, REALLY hope that you all know what you can totally do this type of project too. And if you get stuck, there are so many amazing resources that a quick google search can't fix! #amiright?

Blow your own minds this week with the way you stretch your skills! I dare you!

Here are my Week 5 goals:

Grout the pennisula tiles

Build new cabinet fronts, spray them, and get them installed.(big task!)

Paint the trim above the sink

Watch my beautiful new countertops, stove, and sink/faucet get installed (I'm so giddy for this!!)

Start to tile the backsplash

Those are some lofty goals, ya'll. WISH ME LUCK, friends!


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